San Miguel Eskrima is a unique method of Filipino martial arts, developed by Filemon Canete. It is an expression of the older methods of Filipino fighting arts which stressed the use of the blade.

Focusing on proper body mechanics, more than specific techniques, its rhythmic movements drive the “vital energy” (Qi) through the calm, relaxed mind-set that is critical to martial ability, especially when weapons are involved. The training emphasizes the use of Espada y Daga (stick and dagger).

This promotes the development of fluid, continuous attacks, a refined sense of distance and timing, and hair-trigger responses.  Use of wooden weapons and a structured training method allow martial qualities to be retained, while preventing injury.

Because the movements of San Miguel Eskrima are smooth, circular and fluid, there is no strain on the joints. The movements of the founder, Filemon Canete, were graceful, effective and powerful until his death at the age of 91.

San Miguel Eskrima is the “old” style of Doce Pares, a famous method from the island of Cebu. Doce Pares was created in the 1930’s by Master Canete and his seven brothers. Later this style became famous throughout the world.

The name has been changed to San Miguel Eskrima to preserve the uniqueness of Filemon Canete’s personal vision of Eskrima. The San Miguel Form is the centerpiece of this method of Eskrima.

It’s great length develops endurance and refined strength. The body learns to stay relaxed, while executing a wide variety of attack and defense sequences that become internalized at an instinctive level. The rhythmic, repetitive movements help to create a state of internal stillness within movement.

This allows the practitioner to react instantly and to control their emotions in a violent encounter. It also serves to promote the internal harmony of mind and body cultivated in the “Internal” schools of martial arts.

In addition to the San Miguel Form many other aspects of Espada Y Daga training are explored:

  • Disarming Techniques
  • Counters to Basic Attacks
  • Hi Speed Counter & Re-counter Exercises
  • Free Style Drills

Other methods of training develop a wide range of skills and cultivate different qualities and abilities:

  • Ananangkil (50″ Stick) – Power / Courage
  • Bangkaw (Spear) – Body Connection
  • Dos Armas (2 sticks) – Speed / Fluidity
  • Cadena (Chain) – Speed / Timing / Wrist Power
  • Unarmed Techniques – Self Defense / Throws / Locks /
  • Close Quarter Distancing
  • Latigo (Whip) – Timing / Whole body Power
  • Throwing Knife – Accuracy / Control

Filemon Canete continued to develop and improve his Eskrima up until his death. In his lifetime the art was not a static finished product. This continues today. Rapier & Dagger training has been incorporated into the San Miguel system.

Historical and technical research show an undeniable link between European rapier and dagger methods. During 377 years of Spanish rule, there were constant clashes between the Filipinos and the Spanish.

There is no doubt that each side became familiar with the other’s fighting methods and that Spanish techniques were incorporated into Filipino schools of fighting. Master Canete’s method in particular shows this influence.

Use of the rapier and dagger develops fast reflexes, proper distancing and greater appreciation for the use of the thrust. It also allows for realistic, safe, and enjoyable free-style practice.

Research groups composed of certified instructors are currently exploring expanding the curriculum to develop each aspect of training to its fullest, in line with the principles taught by Momoy.

Tom Bisio is the head of the San Miguel Eskrima Association. He made several trips to the Phillipines to train with Filemon Canete between 1979 and 1987.

The name of the association and its goals to preserve and develop the principles and methods of the old eskrima, came out of a series of discussions between Mr. Bisio and Master Canete that took place during those years.

Mr. Bisio was given authority at that time to promote Filemon Canete’s eskrima method. The San Miguel Eskrima Association is composed of a dedicated group of instructors who wish to preserve Master Canete’s art and personal vision.

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